Senate strips provisions from a House resolution.
It doesn't look like Congress will come up with a way to fund the federal government before the new fiscal year begins on October 1st. The Democratic-controlled US Senate on Monday voted to strip two items from a funding resolution passed by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives. One calls for a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act, and eliminate a tax on medical equipment. The vote was 54-46.
"The Senate has acted in a responsible way to say 'look, we don't have a budget. So let's keep government open until we work out our fiscal differences. The House wants to close government," says Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.). "They're connecting the continuing of government to try to get their extreme agenda accomplished. We're willing to negotiate, but on the budget. Not on the operation of government itself. At this point, it doesn't look good for keeping government open."
The health exchanges, which are part of the Affordable Care Act, are expected to go into operation on Tuesday, October 1st, even if the federal government shuts down.
President Obama is putting pressure on Republicans to avoid a shutdown, saying it will hurt the economy as well as hundreds of government workers.
"A lot of good federal workers will be very much inconvenienced by the shutdown. A lot of people won't get the services that they need," says Cardin.
The Senator also hopes members of Congress will craft a resolution to keep the government funded after October 1st. But, like the President, Cardin says the Affordable Care Act should be treated separately from a budget for the federal government. "Obamacare has been a law for a several years. So now all of a sudden, they're trying to use the 11th hour to close government as an effort to try to get their agenda passed. So, no, we're not going to give in to that negotiation," he says.
Congress has until midnight, Monday, September 30th, to come up with a plan to avoid a federal government shutdown.
If the federal government closes, the US Department of Labor says it will not issue its monthly jobs report as scheduled on Friday.